1952 College Football Recap
Still a year away from participation in the Big Ten, Michigan State rose to the top of the final AP poll by turning in its second unbeaten season in a row.
Georgia Tech was also unbeaten again, raising its record to 12–0 after beating Mississippi in the first All-SEC Sugar Bowl.
Notre Dame returned to the Top 20 after an absence of two years and placed third. In the last month of the season the Irish played three other Top 5 teams and beat two of them. They upset Oklahoma 27–21, lost to Michigan St. 21–3, and then in the final game of the year, knocked off unbeaten Southern Cal 9–0.
Oklahoma halfback Billy Vessels gained over 1,500 yards in all-purpose running and ran off with the Heisman Trophy. Despite all the success the Sooners would enjoy this decade, Vessels would be Bud Wilkinson's only Heisman winner.
Southern Cal and UCLA were both unbeaten when they met to decide who would represent the Pacific Coast Conference in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins led 12–7 at the half, but USC won the game 14–12. After losing to Notre Dame a week later, the Trojans came back to beat Wisconsin 7–0 on New Year's and give the PCC its first win over the Big Ten in seven Rose Bowls.
Tennessee and Alabama gave the SEC four teams in the Top 10. The No.8 Vols were shut out 16–0 by 10th-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl, while No.9 Bama scored a postseason record 61 points routing Syracuse in the Orange Bowl.